Saanich man chasing down a dream with 60k run

Jerry Hughes will run from Duncan to Victoria Sunday to raise funds and awareness for the Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Jerry Hughes is congratulated by coach Yana Hempler at the conclusion of this year’s TC 10k

A Saanich man will be running from Duncan to Victoria this weekend, but the 60-kilometre trek is eclipsed by what he’s already been able to achieve.

Jerry Hughes and his coach Yana Hempler will make the journey from Duncan to Victoria Sunday in order to raise funds and awareness for Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

Hughes and his siblings were born with a rare and aggressive genetic disorder called Gardner’s syndrome, a disease that claimed his father at the age of 33. If not detected early, those with Gardner’s syndrome have an average life expectancy of between 35 and 45 years.

Hughes fitness journey began about two years ago. After going through a fitness bootcamp and taking part in the Fight 4 The Cause, Hughes entered the TC 10k and Oak Bay Half Marathon, finishing in 44:43 and 1:40:43 respectively.

“At that point, I realized that I had some natural ability as a runner, but needed help, so I got Yana Hempler to coach me,” said Hughes.

“I have done a series of runs since then and I keep on getting better. Now, I’m doing marathons and ultra marathons as well as many other races. I’m doing it to show my sons, who have a 50 per cent chance of getting my disease, to not let the illness define their life but that they should carve their own path regardless of the circumstances.”

Hempler has been working with Hughes since December and says he has already shaved five minutes off his 10k time and eclipsed his half-marathon time by more than 12 minutes.

I’m excited to be a part of his journey because I know that he is going places. He never gives up until he achieves his goals, never makes excuses and that’s admirable,” said Hempler, who is also from Saanich.

The idea for the 60-kilometre run came from a run Hempler made a couple of years ago from Port Hardy to Victoria.

“Duncan to Victoria seemed like a very gradual start to this journey that Jerry wants to go on, which is to do more fundraising runs down the road,” she said. “He wants to qualify for Boston Marathon and show people that have rare genetic disorders that anything’s possible.”

The Help Fill a Dream Foundation is a cause close to Hughes’ heart, as he and his siblings were given a dream vacation to Disneyland when they were teenagers.

Hughes’ goal is to inspire other people with rare disorders to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams.

“The mind is a powerful tool and you can do anything you want in life. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Carve your own path and you will inspire the world.”

Those interested in making a donation can email Hughes at jhugh30@hotmail.com or visit the website www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/raise-awareness-for-rare-gentic-disorders.

“We’re just hoping people can help out and donate whatever they can, whether it’s a dollar or $200,” said Hempler.

 

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read